If you have trouble falling asleep, there are several strategies that can help you get to sleep and stay asleep throughout the night.
The number-one recommendation from sleep experts is to set a consistent bedtime and wake-up schedule. This self-regulation is crucial for maintaining your body’s natural circadian rhythm.
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Set a regular bedtime
If you have a regular bedtime, it can help you get to sleep and stay asleep. It also helps you wake up on time.
Ideally, you should be getting at least 7.5 hours of sleep every night to feel well-rested. However, you may need more or less than this based on your age, genetics, and other factors.
The best way to figure out what your ideal bedtime is is to consider your sleep needs and count backward from a preferred wake time, says Dimitriu. For example, if you need to be up at 8 a.m. to get to work, your ideal bedtime should be around 11 p.m.
Once you have an idea of your optimal bedtime, set up a routine. You don’t need to stick to it perfectly, but it should be a consistent process that you do each day, even on the weekends.
Your goal is to make your bedtime a relaxing time. This could include taking a bath, listening to music, or reading a book.
Another good tip is to use aromatherapy during your bedtime routine. Many essential oils, like lavender and cedar, are known to relax the brain and promote sleep.
A consistent sleep schedule can be difficult to maintain, but it is essential for a healthy body and mind. It can take weeks or even months to build a solid habit, but it’s worth the effort.
Create a relaxing environment
One of the most effective strategies to sleep well is to create a relaxing environment. A relaxing space will allow you to clear your mind and focus on yourself for a while. It can also help you de-stress from your day.
Studies have shown that tranquil environments can significantly improve mood and reduce stress levels. These environments include natural areas such as forests, beaches, or lakes.
In your home, you can replicate these calming environments by channeling the same colors, plants, and decor that you find in those areas. This can include using artwork inspired by the outdoors, arranging your furniture in ways that mimic those of nature, or placing photos and furnishings from the areas you enjoy.
Another effective strategy for creating a relaxing environment is to keep the space clutter-free. Clutter can be a source of stress, which is a known barrier to quality sleep.
The best way to keep your bedroom clutter-free is to remove all work materials and other items that can distract you while you sleep. It is also important to clear away any electronics before bed so that they don’t distract you during your sleep.
In addition to creating a space where you can relax, you should also create a place where you can meditate or do other activities that de-stress. This can be a dedicated room or a nook in your home, depending on your needs.
When you encounter stress, your brain floods your body with hormones that cause you to sweat, breathe faster and tense your muscles. These reactions are designed to protect you when your body or brain is in danger. But when you experience ongoing, long-term stress, these responses can wreak havoc on your health.
Chronic stress can lead to health problems including depression, anxiety, and sleeplessness. It can also disrupt your immune system, digestive and reproductive systems, and increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Luckily, it’s possible to reduce the amount of stress you experience and avoid negative consequences. But to do this, you need to understand the body’s response to stress and how to manage it effectively.
While short-term stress can help you meet deadlines, prepare for presentations, or arrive on time for an important event, prolonged exposure to stressful situations can be detrimental to your health. It can lead to health issues like depression, irritability, and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
A simple way to reduce your stress is to get enough sleep. The average adult needs between seven and nine hours of sleep each night.
Another effective way to reduce stress is to exercise. A moderate amount of daily exercises, such as a 20-minute walk, increases blood flow and flushes out stress hormones.
A healthy diet can also decrease stress by keeping your body nourished. Add more organic fruits and vegetables to your meals, eat less sugar and processed foods, and drink plenty of water.
A hot cup of coffee or energy drink can be a nice way to start your day, but consuming it too close to bedtime can interfere with sleep. It can make it difficult to fall asleep and wake you up during the night.
Caffeine is a stimulant that can be found in most teas, coffee, cola drinks, and chocolate bars. It can also be found in some over-the-counter medications.
When you drink caffeine, it acts as a jolt of energy that can trigger jittery nervous feelings and heart palpitations in some people. This is especially true for those who already have anxiety or stress issues.
The jittery feeling and racing heart can also affect your ability to fall asleep at night, as it can be a sign that your body isn’t ready for sleep yet. So it’s important to stop drinking caffeine four to six hours before going to bed to avoid these unpleasant side effects.
In the end, avoiding caffeine can be one of the best sleep strategies. Not only will you feel more rested and energized, but you’ll also be less likely to get headaches.
It’s also important to note that your body metabolizes half of the caffeine you consume before it starts to affect your sleep. So if you have a large caffeine intake, it might be helpful to limit your intake after midday or cut it out completely if you’re highly sensitive to the drug.
Turn off the lights
Lights are a common culprit when it comes to disrupting sleep. Whether it’s the television you keep on in your bedroom, or the cell phone light beaming down from the ceiling, these sources of light can confuse your body’s natural rhythm and affect how well you sleep.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to avoid sleeping with the lights on. These strategies can help you get a better night’s rest and improve your overall health.
The first step is to make sure you don’t have any bright lights in your bedroom before bedtime. This can disrupt your melatonin levels and interfere with the natural sleep-wake cycle.
Another option is to turn off the television or other electronic devices before you go to bed. This can prevent the blue light from reaching your eyes, which can hurt your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
You should also consider dimming your lights before going to sleep. This can help your body produce more melatonin, which will help you get a good night’s rest.
Turning off your lights can save you money on your electricity bill! And it’s an easy habit to incorporate into your daily routine. But you should always check your electricity plan from your utility provider to ensure that you’re not using more energy than you need to.
Don’t watch TV before bed
It’s no secret that many people struggle to fall asleep at night. If you’re one of them, you may be wondering if watching TV before bed is the best strategy to help you sleep well.
While the research on this subject is mixed, there is some evidence that a little TV watching before you go to sleep can be beneficial. However, the longer you spend in front of the screen before you try to get to sleep, the more it can disrupt your melatonin production and prevent you from getting the rest you need.
It is advisable to not watch any media, including TV, for at least an hour before you go to bed. And, if you do decide to watch TV, it is important to limit your screen time so that you can wind down properly and avoid the blue light emitted by screens, which interferes with your body’s ability to produce melatonin.
To ensure you can fall asleep without the distraction of a screen, it is also advisable to have a regular bedtime routine. You might want to consider re-establishing a routine that includes a relaxing activity like reading. This can be as simple as a book, podcast, or even a show you enjoy. Having a relaxing activity that helps you de-stress before you get to sleep can make all the difference in achieving the most restful sleep possible.